Things are just getting off the ground in the vegetable department right now, but there are little handfuls of things to pull – peas, a small zucchini, some parsley or chives, a carrot. Today I got a zucchini before it got huge, and it had an amazing bloom that I thought would make a nice garnish for some leftover pasta. Vegetables quickly sautéed with butter, then a good squeeze of lemon and toss it with the pasta.
I’ve been looking carefully at the empty bed that we have devoted solely to asparagus and wondering if the whole patch met a mysterious subterranean demise over the winter. But just yesterday, I finally saw the first signs of life from them – two purple heads poking up through the ground. Now at least I can breathe easy and assume that the rest will soon follow.
Alicia texted me this morning while I was out saying “2 eggs in the coop today”, which is exciting because they haven’t laid since October or so. Maybe it was that huge full moon last night. When I got home Robbie and I went out to collect the bounty and pose for this picture. By that time there was a third egg, so spring has officially arrived.
(Note: Right after snapping this photo, Robbie decided to drop the eggs on the ground, and one broke, so we’re back down to 2 eggs.)
These days it’s not hard to run into someone extolling the virtues of eating local, or growing your own food, or getting in touch with your inner omnivorous dilemma. It can get a little old, even for someone who is all for it the ideas at hand. One reason is that it seems like a lot of extra expense or effort just to prove you’re “aware” and achieving your proper balance in the food system. Sometimes, a bag of Doritos just sounds delicious and kale is the last thing I want.
Then yesterday we ate our first salad of the year, thinning out the thick rows of lettuce. And despite the obvious cliché, it was different enough from our typical winter fare of crock pot meals to make us look up and say, “This salad is actually pretty amazing.” It was probably 15 minutes out of the garden, with a lemon-honey-mustard vinaigrette and some pepper, so light and tender that it just about melted in your mouth (in a way that wasn’t weird for a vegetable to do.)
I keep checking the asparagus bed for signs of life, and finally today there were two tiny little asparagus spears poking out of the ground. Asparagus patches take a couple years to establish so we bought crowns that were supposed to be ready the next year and planted them last summer. Asparagus are kind of the divas of the vegetable world; I had to dig an 18 inch ditch to plant them in, let them grow some, then bury them up to their necks, so to speak, in more dirt. However, once they’re established, an asparagus patch will apparently last 10 years or more. With any luck, they’ll be our first edible crop this spring, and for many springs to come.